Scarrott Takes Midland Crown

James Scarrott claimed his first championship belt as a professional, picking up the vacant Midlands Area welterweight title with a compelling points win against Jamie Stewart.

The fight headlined BCB’s ‘February Firepower’ at the H Suite in Edgbaston Friday night, and it was a real coming-of-age experience for the twenty-year-old from Worcester. It was Scarrott’s first ten-round bout, and although his record on paper looked better than his opponent’s (5-0) compared to 4-5-3, the experience was definitely on Stewart’s side.

Stoke-On- Trent breeds tough people, and Jamie Stewart is certainly tough. The man from the potteries had already boxed five times for versions of the Midlands title, winning one and going the distance in the other four.

Scarrott started well in a quiet opening round that saw him look to hold the centre of the ring, while Stewart seemed content to box off the back foot using his snappy jab to keep distance between the pair.

The styles gelled well, and the two men were both landing point-scoring blows as the rounds seemed to fly by with both having success. Stewart is rarely shut out on the cards, and in the middle stage, he was growing in confidence as the jab continued to land with accuracy.

The pace dropped a little, but the action was clean, with little in the way of holding or messing about. The man in the middle, referee Chris Dean, didn’t have much to do.

However, Scarrott started to go through the gears and looked the fresher out of the two, landing the heavier blows and pulling away as the fight headed towards the later stages. At times, it looked like a tricky bout to score, but the aggression and momentum were with the younger man, and the first-time challenger finished strongly.

Stewart’s corner thought they had done enough and looked confident at the final bell, but it was Scarrott who rightly got his hand raised, taking a 97-93 point victory, and the first belt of hopefully many is now in his possession.

“I felt good, said Scarrott. I could have done more to make it easier, but it was my first ten rounds, and I boxed well. I knew my job would be important, and I learned a lot from the experience. Hopefully now I can push on and land a big fight or one on TV next. 

Chief support on the night saw hard-hitting Troy Jones gain some valuable rounds with a 59-55 point win over hard-as-nails Ondrej Budera. It is a rare thing for a Jones opponent to see the final bell, with his last five failing to make it past the fourth, and it looked like Budera could be number six as he took some serious punches in the first round.

The onslaught continued into the second, but the man from the Czech Republic absorbed the shots, and despite offering limited offensive output, he survived well. The twenty-five-year-old Jones, who hails from Tamworth, tired a little as the fight headed to the later stages, dropping a round on the cards, but he showed why he has been put in by the board for an English title shot and is one to very much watch in 2024.

Kirstie Bavington put a much-needed tick in the win column, and the relief in the post-fight celebration was heartwarming to see as she widely outpointed Tereza Dvorakova 59-55. The 31-year-old welterweight from Wolverhampton has been mixing with some of the biggest names in the sport in the last twelve months, fighting away from home, and has been on the unlucky end of the judges cards on numerous occasions.

Friday night was the first step in her rebuilding some momentum, and she boxed well against another tough Czech, Dvorakova, who looked the bigger of the two but struggled to cope with Bavingtons movement and speed. Onwards and upwards for ‘Bavvo’ much to the delight of her fans, who made plenty of noise throughout.

After almost five years out of the ring, Alex

Florence blew off the cobwebs with a 39-37 point win against Stu Greener. Florence is now unbeaten in seven and showed, despite a little ring rust and fatigue late on, that he still possesses the talent he last showed in 2019.

He is entering phase two of his career and showed he has plenty to offer; an area title shot could happen this year if he stays active.

Unbeaten Hamza Azeem is steadily building a tidy record as a professional and picked up his fifth straight win against Shane Smith. It was a potential banana skin, and with it being Smith’s debut, there wasn’t any footage for the twenty-four-year-old Brummie and his team to look at, but he took to the task with confidence, utilising his long south paw jab and whipping in some nice straight left hands.

The ‘King’ hadn’t dropped a round in his last three contests, but he will have been happy with his performance despite dropping a round, coming away with a well-deserved 39-37 point victory.

Danny Skidmore got his career up and running with the nights only shut out as he beat veteran Paul Scaife 40-36. The 28-year-old from Tipton landed some solid right hands and showed his fitness, closing the contest well against the defensive-minded Scaife.

The Jimmy Gould-trained prospect looks like a great addition to the paid ranks and will be itching to get out for fight number two very soon.

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